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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests > Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District

Quick Facts

Three Island Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,150 Feet (2540.5 Meters) at FDR 443
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,800 Feet (872.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,950 Feet (3413.3 Meters) at jct. of Wyoming Trail #1101
Length, One-way: 6.1 Miles (10.17 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Routt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #116 Hahns Peak, Steamboat Lake; No Mt Zirkel Wilderness; #117 Clark, Buffalo Pass; So Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Trail Number: 1163
Usage: Very Heavy
USGS Maps: Farwell Mtn; Mt Zirkel; Mt Ethel

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description


This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions.

This trail and area are popular and receive heavy use. Three Island Lake is not suggested as a destination for camping. Because of overuse impacts, regulations do not permit camping near the lake. Camping off the trail nearer the Continental Divide offers the greatest solitude and short hikes can be taken to enjoy the lake.

NARRATIVE : The trail begins in aspen, climbing gradually upward to spruce and fir with some lodgepole pine. At Lookout Rock there is a good view of the South Fork of the Elk River Valley The hiker continues on to the lake with its three islands. The trail travels past the lake, past Beaver Lake (not visible from the trail) up a rocky section, opening to high meadows and up to the Divide.


As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.

Directions from Steamboat Springs: ACCESS #1: Take HWY 40 west of town and turn right onto County Road 129, Elk River Road. Travel north about 18 miles to the Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400;also County Road 64) and turn right. Go past Seedhouse Campground then turn right onto Forest Road 443. The trailhead is about 3 miles down this road.

Directions from Steamboat Springs: ACCESS #2 : Travel up Buffalo Pass Road to Summit Lake Campground and walk the Wyoming Trail #1101 (Continental Divide Trail) north for 11 miles to the Three Island Lake area.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather. This trail may not be accessible until well into the Summer.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Three Island Lake Trail and Wyoming Trail.
ICON Hiking & Walking Three Island Lake Trail and Wyoming Trail.
ICON Horseback Riding Three Island Lake Trail and Wyoming Trail.

Related Activities
North Lake Trail - This trail north of Steamboat Springs, in the Slavonia area, leads from Forest Road 443 up past North Lake. It eventually links to the Wyoming Trail #1101, on the Continental Divide.

Seedhouse Campground - This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions. Seedhouse Campground is located miles north of Steamboat Springs, on the upper Elk River, at an elevation of 8,000 feet.

Wyoming Trail - This 50 mile trail generally follows the Continental Divide from roughly Rabbit Ears Pass, north into Wyoming. It can be traveled in sections, because it can be accessed from a number of different points.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, 925 Weiss Drive , Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487, Phone: 970-879-1870, Fax: 970-879-2147


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